I had just walked out of the school building when Chuck was leaving one afternoon. Both of us were seniors. He had stopped his Volkswagen bug to speak with a friend. I noticed he was holding a string out the window attached to the back of the car. “What is he doing now?” I thought to myself. I found out his accelerator cable had broken so he had tied the string to the engine in the back and was using it to accelerate the car. He laughed out loud as he drove off. Chuck Harper is one of the few who would think of that.
That was over 30 years ago and I still remember that moment. So last year when I reconnected with Chuck and his amazing wife, Joyce, and discovered that they were in Honduras, I was not surprised. Although I had never pictured them as missionaries when we were in high school, Chuck Harper is one of the few who would think of giving his life away to orphans in a foreign country. And that is what they are doing. Many people have been rescued from a life of deprivation by Chuck and Joyce. They live in a dangerous setting there. Violence is a part of the surrounding culture. But in the midst of it all is the love and peace of Christ flowing out from them giving hope and rescue to children living in fear and uncertainty.
And then there is George and Kara Maddox. George was just a kid when I moved to North Carolina. During the ten years that I lived there, George became a teenager. He stayed with our boys on several occasions. (My only regret was his Duke influence on them. Just terrible). Anyway, George grew up and headed off to Bible college, married a lovely girl named Kara and they moved to Honduras for the same reason that the Harpers did – to share the hope, love and peace of Christ. The people of Honduras have been deeply impacted by them in just a few years. In the short time that I was with them, people were given food and clothes. A family received a roof and floor for their home. Children learned the story of Jesus. Teens heard about the GOD who lavishes them with love and forgiveness at the lowest point of their lives. Hope was born in many hearts that week.
My life has been enriched and inspired by the Harpers and Maddox’s. They are living for more than themselves. But really when you stop and seriously think about it – how can any of us do otherwise? How can we live for ourselves? How can I live for me when GOD made me for more than me? I have to distort terribly His divine purposes in order to do that. And here’s the amazing part – I do. I find myself pursuing the “Pleasing Me” path totally unaware sometimes that I am traveling that road. Thanks to Chuck, Joyce, George and Kara (and so many like them) for reminding me that GOD created me to live for something greater than my own wants and needs. You’ve inspired me to live bigger.
Who are the people who have inspired you to live bigger? What about them have moved you to give your own life away? How can you inspire others to live bigger, for others and for Christ? Share your thoughts and testimonials in the comments box.